What if you’ve finally decided to embark on a professional mental health treatment? If you’re considering this journey, you might wonder about the specialists involved. Understanding the difference between regular doctors and mental health professionals can be tricky. So, who do you turn to if you notice the symptoms of depression?
This article will help you figure out who can prescribe antidepressants, explain the differences between the types of healthcare providers, and discuss the requirements for obtaining prescriptions online.
Why Is Depression Dangerous?
The World Health Organization states that around
While some may believe it’s just a blue or a bad mood, untreated depression can cause substance abuse, strain relationships, disrupt work performance, and hamper recovery from other illnesses. Increased awareness about depression helps foster understanding, promote early intervention, and provide support for those affected. All this can mitigate its widespread impact on individuals and society.
Early diagnosis increases the chances of overcoming depression successfully. Book an online consultation today.
Symptoms of Depression
A depressive episode stands apart from general periodical sadness and apathy. It lasts for a minimum of two weeks and persists for the majority of each day, nearly every day. Alongside, other accompanying symptoms may be present, including:
- Hopelessness: A negative outlook on life and thoughts of self-hate or guilt.
- Appetite and weight changes: Altered eating habits leading to weight gain or loss.
- Fatigue: Persistent tiredness, impacting daily life.
- Loss of interest: Inability to find pleasure in once-enjoyed activities.
- Poor sleep: Sleep disturbances, either too much or too little sleep.
What happens when a person decides to ignore the symptoms of depression? Untreated depression has been linked to significant challenges in managing physical health. For example, it may slow down the recovery from stroke or heart disease. Depression may also hinder decision-making and adherence to medical advice, which increases the risk of adverse outcomes. Other consequences include:
- Disrupted eating and sleeping patterns
- Impaired work performance and potential job loss
- Strained relationships and social isolation
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Elevated risk of suicide
Without adequate treatment, including antidepressants and/or psychotherapy, depression can endure for extended periods. Nevertheless, with the proper treatment, many of those who faced depression symptoms have found relief and improvement in their condition.
Reasons Why Antidepressants Are Prescribed
Typically, adults with moderate to severe depression are initially offered antidepressants as the primary treatment option. In general,
The most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These include sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and others. If symptoms do not improve after about four weeks, a healthcare provider may suggest an alternative antidepressant or adjust the dosage. Other types of antidepressants include serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
Do You Need a Prescription for Antidepressants?
While many antidepressants are not controlled substances, they are prescription medications and require a doctor’s prescription to purchase them. To get a prescription, you need to be assessed by a doctor or mental health professional. These specialists will evaluate your symptoms and health history to make sure antidepressants are the best choice.
Who Can Prescribe Antidepressants?
Various healthcare professionals can prescribe antidepressants, depending on the specific regulations and guidelines that may vary by state. Below, you’ll find a list of healthcare providers licensed to prescribe these medications.
Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They evaluate the symptoms, make a diagnosis based on the given information, and may prescribe antidepressant medications if it is a necessary element of your treatment plan.
Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians, also known as general practitioners (GPs), are the first you should think about if you don’t know what professional to see or cannot find a psychiatrist. They are trained to diagnose and treat diverse illnesses and constantly collaborate with other specialists to provide the best possible assistance. They are also familiar with depression symptoms and are eligible to prescribe antidepressants.
Nurse practitioners, especially
Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed professionals who work under physicians’ supervision. Their duties vary based on their work setting, experience level, specialty, and state regulations. As a rule, they take health histories, diagnose and treat illnesses, and conduct procedures. PAs may also be able to make medication prescriptions, in particular for antidepressants.
At MEDvidi, you’ll find certified healthcare professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications in case your treatment requires it.
What Kind of Doctor Can Only Provide Talk Therapy?
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is effective for managing mental health conditions, including depression. It can be used along with medications, creating an integral treatment approach. Mental health professionals specializing in therapy are called psychologists. They can make psychological assessments and teach people how to better cope with life challenges and mental health issues.
To reap the full benefits of psychotherapy, you need to feel comfortable talking about your thoughts and feelings. Also, find a licensed therapist who offers confidentiality and compassion. The following types of mental health professionals are licensed to provide psychotherapy:
- Clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, and health psychologists
- Psychiatrists and mental health nurses trained in psychotherapy
- Social workers, professional and mental health counselors
- Psychotherapists, family physicians, and couples counselors
Please pay attention that in most U.S. states, a psychologist cannot prescribe antidepressant medication. Still, they are eligible to diagnose mental health conditions. A clinical psychologist may be authorized to prescribe medications in certain U.S. states, though this is rare.
How to Talk to a Doctor About Depression?
The sad truth is many people are embarrassed not only to seek help for their depression but even to speak about it. At the same time, depression is a prevalent condition, and qualified mental health professionals are aware of how it can negatively affect your life and are ready to assist you on your healing path. So, what is the most effective way to discuss your depression with a dedicated specialist?
- Outline your symptoms. Don’t be shy about telling everything you think may contribute to your further treatment.
- Avoid minimizing feelings. Describe the experience you are going through in as much detail as possible.
- Tell a practitioner about the medications you are taking. It may help prevent negative consequences, such as interactions, when you start your treatment according to a new plan.
Although it may be difficult at first to speak up about your mental health symptoms, it is the very first step to your healthier and happier future.
Getting Antidepressants Without a Diagnosis
You are not able to get a prescription for antidepressants without a diagnosis from a medical professional. The reason for that is apparent: antidepressants are prescription medications and can cause severe side effects. That’s why they should be used appropriately and under medical supervision.
Primary care providers, psychiatrists, or other licensed healthcare professionals should assess your symptoms, medical history, and potential risk factors before prescribing medication. They may also consider other treatment options and outline all the potential benefits and risks of the chosen strategy.
Can You Get a Prescription Through Telemedicine?
As mentioned above, to obtain a prescription for antidepressants, you should take a comprehensive examination by a healthcare professional. Online mental health services refer to virtual consultations with licensed healthcare providers who, after such an assessment, may prescribe antidepressants as a part of your treatment plan.
Our team offers a telemedicine service that helps you connect with certified specialists. They are authorized to provide online treatment for depression and prescribe necessary medications, and you may get help even without leaving your home.
How to Get a Prescription Online?
Here’s an outline of the steps to get your prescription online.
- At MEDvidi, your journey begins by signing up for the platform, providing all the required basic personal information, and filling out a medical intake form.
- As soon as you complete the registration process, you can easily book your first appointment.
- During your video consultation, your healthcare provider will review your symptoms and medical history. They can also ask relevant questions to get a complete understanding of your mental health condition.
- Based on this data, a practitioner will make a diagnosis, recommend a course of treatment, and provide you with an online prescription if you are eligible.
- After you start your treatment according to your personalized plan, you should attend follow-up sessions to refill your prescription and tell a healthcare professional about your dynamics. They will assess the effectiveness of the treatment offered and, if necessary, adjust the dosage of prescribed medications.
The American Psychiatric Association has positive statistics on depression treatment. Between
The stigma around mental health prevents discussing symptoms openly, but initiating a conversation with a healthcare professional is the essential first step. You can consult certified specialists from the comfort of your home, including services like symptom assessment, getting a diagnosis, and receiving prescriptions for medications like antidepressants.
A primary care doctor, also known as a general practitioner (GP), can prescribe antidepressant medications. Other medical providers licensed to prescribe these medications include psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
First, you need to see your primary care physician or a mental health professional. Discuss your symptoms, their impact, and your willingness to take medication during the appointment. Your clinician will then decide if antidepressants are needed and which one can be best for you.
You can’t directly request antidepressants, but you can express your readiness for pharmacological treatment for depression when talking to your mental health specialist.
Doctors should prescribe antidepressant medications when they decide it is an appropriate and beneficial treatment for a patient’s mental health condition.